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Thursday, 21 August 1980
Page: 589

Mr UREN - I direct my question to the Treasurer. How is it possible for the Government to raise the house value limit under the Home Savings Grants Scheme by $10,000 in relation to the maximum grant and at the same time cut the scheme's allocation in the Budget by $20m? Is this another Government thimble and pea trick--

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman can ask for information but not make those comments.

Mr UREN - In relation to the housing problem? Will it further extend the waiting period from the present nine months?

Mr GROOM (BRADDON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Housing and Construction) - There are two obvious reasons for the amount allocated this financial year being less than that allocated in the previous financial year. The basic reason is that there is a ninemonth waiting period for the payment of home savings grants. We are now into the second month of this financial year. That means that the greater cost to revenue will occur in the next financial year and not in this financial year. Also in his Budget Speech last year the Treasurer indicated that the high amount of $75m provided last financial year was partly because of a buildup of grants from the previous financial year. That was spelt out in the Budget Speech of last year.

The Government certainly supports the Home Savings Grants Scheme. We see it as an important scheme. It provides incentives to those who work hard and save money and it encourages home ownership. Honourable members will recall that in 1975 the Australian Labor Party decided to abolish the scheme. So there is some hypocrisy in any criticism of the decisions made by the Government.

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